Critical Pages

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Sugar Maples & Maple Syrup
Most innocents who drive to the supermarket for maple syrup return with a bottle of that looks as if it contained true syrup made from boiling down the sap from a sugar maple tree. But more often than not, the...
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What Fruit Grew on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?
After God created Adam and put him in the garden of Eden “to dress it and keep it” the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of...
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Beatitudes & Nadia Bolz-Weber
You’ve heard of the Beatitudes, right? Maybe not, but you’ve probably heard the proverb-like statements which are called Beatitudes. In the Gospel of Mathew, Jesus gives eight beatitudes in his Sermon on the Mount. In a series of poetic parallels,...
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National Pride, the Amygdala & Anterior Cingulate Cortex
Americans aren't feeling so patriotic these days. As a matter of fact, feeling "extremely proud to be an American" was at a record low on July 4, 2018. That's according to the Gallup poll. The people at Gallup have been...
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June Is Adopt-A-Cat Month®
Yes, June is indeed Adopt-A-Cat Month®. You can check that out at Maybe we were absent from school the day they taught about that. Or maybe Adopt-A-Cat month wasn’t created until recently and we’re getting the news late. No...
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Stamp Out Starving Writers!
Stamp Out Starving Writers! Buy Their Books! That's our motto here at Critical Pages. And in celebration of spring, we suggest you stroll over to your local bookstore and buy something. And if your local bookstore sells cards and trinkets...
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Bitcoin and Blockchain
You’ve probably heard of bitcoin — or should it be capitalized, Bitcoin? — and if you’ve gone further into it you’ve heard of Blockchain, or blockchain. These are words that a lot of people have heard and don’t understand. But bitcoin sounds...
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Galileo and Pendulums
Mathematical equations can be beautiful, or they can be ugly and messy. When we find a simple, elegant equation, we can rightly say it’s beautiful. Most people are familiar with the simple and elegant equation E = MC². It’s sometimes...
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"Wars are the way Americans learn geography."     —Ambrose Bierce, or maybe it was Mark Twain. In any case, it's an uneasy truth.

Our Scribes have been working…

Monks in scriptorium




We have a few long reviews, too long for posts anyway. Cafe Neandertal, by Beebe Bahrami, is about a dig in France uncovering Neandertal (or Neanderthal) bones. Those were our ancestors who came before homo sapiens, and Cafe Neandertal is unlike any other book you’ll read on paleoanthropology.  Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom, is about artificial intelligence and machine learning, a rather dire book, but fascinating. Ada’s Algorithm is about Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, the young woman who wrote the world’s first computer program. Click on the book titles to see the reviews.

By the way, you’ll notice that those scribes are working on pages, not on long scrolls. Writing on pages and then gathering those pages into books was the new technology of the Middle Ages. The newly invented book gave readers the amazing opportunity of going from the beginning of a text to the middle or the end or to anyplace in between just by turning a few pages! No more having to unwind a long scroll and then rewind it back. Furthermore, the pages were flat, never rolled up, so you could paint gorgeous colored illuminations on the page. It was wonderful. What will they think of next!